herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Ibrahimovic expresses sympathies to Parisians

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts after scoring against Denmark in Saturday night’s Euro 2016 play-off first leg win
Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts after scoring against Denmark in Saturday night’s Euro 2016 play-off first leg win

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic has expressed his sympathies for his fellow Parisians after gun and bomb attacks in the French capital on Friday left 129 killed, hundreds injured and the city traumatised.

"It's sad, tragic. Things like that shouldn't happen," the Paris Saint Germain player said after Sweden beat Denmark 2-1 in the first leg of their Euro 2016 playoff. "I stand behind those who have passed on and the families there.

"I tried hard to focus on the game, which was very hard," added the 34-year-old, who is in his fourth season at PSG, having moved to the French capital in July 2012 from AC Milan.

The Friends Arena in Stockholm was lit up in the red, white and blue national colours of France, with a minute's silence observed before play while the players also wore black armbands.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren said the attacks in the French capital had affected his side's preparations.

"The terrible and despicable has happened," Hamren told reporters.

"We had a chat when we assembled and we must show that evil cannot be allowed to win, that football is important on days such as this."

Sweden scored two quickfire goals either side of halftime to beat the Danes but losing coach Morten Olsen believes his side can overturn the deficit in the return match.

Emil Forsberg netted the opener for the hosts and also won a 50th-minute penalty that Ibrahimovic converted before Nicolai Jorgensen snatched a late goal to leave the tie delicately balanced going into tomorrow night's game in Copenhagen.

"You have to be confident," Olsen told a news conference. "I think we have the players who can make the difference, it will be a different game."

A tight, tense affair for much of the first 45 minutes, the game exploded into life on the stroke of halftime when winger Forsberg swept Mikael Lustig's pass beyond Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The crowd had barely taken their seats at the start of the second period when Forsberg was upended by Thomas Kahlenberg after a surging run into the box and Sweden captain Ibrahimovic thundered home the resulting spot kick.

Jorgensen's late goal left the Swedes rattled and Denmark dominated the final 10 minutes without managing to find the equaliser.

"It's always disappointing to concede a goal," said Sweden coach Erik Hamren. "I thought our defence was good for 60 minutes.

"We have won the first game. We know it's only halftime and ... it's going to be exciting on Tuesday."

In Saturday's other playoff first leg, Ukraine beat Slovenia 2-0 in Lviv, with the second leg also scheduled for tomorrow night.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News